Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Preservation: Digital file formats and air conditioners

It was all about preservation today...

Started out with Preservation class this morning, where we learned about isoperm theory (isopermanence) and HVAC systems (Heating/Ventilation/Air-Conditioning). After the very detailed discussion in The Museum Environment (by Garry Thomson) about heating, lighting, and storage standards, it was nice to get a class with notes in bullet points.

This is my professor, Jake Nadal, Head of Preservation at the IUB Libraries.

Jake took us to a classroom with windows to show us how conditions in a room can vary in only a matter of feet. Standing right by the window, a book can be exposed to very cold temperatures (in the winter) and high humidity, and then five-ten feet in, conditions would differ (probably for the better). Lesson learned: It's better to let your collection's temperatures cycle, than its relative humidity. Again, air and moisture being the greatest cause of deteoriation for books.

Meanwhile...over at the Archives of Traditional Music,

I learned about digital recording. The Archives uses Sound Forge, a killer audio application that's great for 2-channel (i.e. stereo) files. I've been using it for a couple of years, since I took a class in Audio for Multimedia at Northern Virginia Community College. But I haven't used a lot of the advanced features for a while. Not that I will be doing any fancy editing or mixing, because it is an Archives. We use Sound Forge to do flat transfers from source recordings. No fooling around, cutting up, equalizing, adding a bass line, or creating mixes--just plain recording. That's fine. Mike Casey, my main man and audio preservationist god, does signal processing for those people, who need a little more modern sound to their recording of Balinese gamelan music.

And in the cause of traditional music, I think I'll announce another season of my bi-weekly folk/world music program, The Kitchen Party here. It's every other week on Sunday evenings from 7-9 pm. First show should be on Feb. 6. Take a listen on-line to WIUS. Here's an album I know I'll be playing a lot of:


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